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COVID-19: SLO County reports 120 cases, 101 recoveries, roadmap to reopen county planned 

Editor’s note: This story was updated Tuesday afternoon


–On Tuesday afternoon, the County of San Luis Obispo reported 120 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 101 recoveries. That leaves just 19 active cases of the disease in the county. Two people remain in the ICU. One person has died from the virus. So far there has been a recovery rate higher than 80-percent. The curve of new infections appears to be “flattening,” according to county health officials.

By Tuesday afternoon, there were at least 24,579 cases and 734 deaths in the State of California and 564,207 cases and 25,402 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Roadmap planned to transition ‘back to normal’

At a press conference Monday afternoon, county officials said that they are creating a roadmap to transition the community “back to normal as soon as possible, while still slowing the spread of the virus.”

The county is planning for a “phased reopening in our communities,” said County Administrative Executive Wade Horton at the press conference. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announced on Tuesday six critical indicators for reopening the state. See related story: Gov. Newsom outlines critical indicators to consider before modifying Stay-at-Home order.

On Monday, Dr. Penny Borenstein, the county health officer, discussed COVID-19 antibody testing, a form of testing that could show how many people have been exposed and recovered in the community, currently unknown to health officials. “Antibody testing is not yet available in SLO County,” she said.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson expressed concern for a recent state-wide court decision to free criminals from jails. In SLO County, 30 individuals in custody may be eligible for immediate release on zero bail, said District Attorney Dan Dow. He said his office is filing court motions to prevent the release of some of them. Dow warns that the release of inmates on zero bail violates victims’ constitutional rights, will increase crime.

Parkinson said the SLO County Sheriff’s Office has increased the presence of deputies in marked patrol cars by 70-percent during the pandemic to help maintain public order. He said there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in SLO County Jail.

Horton said businesses have been voluntarily complying with emergency ordinances and that no citations have been issued by the county.

The San Luis Obispo County Health Department is live-streaming regular press conferences on its Facebook page. Click here to see their page, “follow” to be reminded when they go live.

Recent SLO County COVID-19 coronavirus updates

Distribution of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Paso Robles reported COVID-19 cases: 30
  • Atascadero reported COVID-19 cases: 23
  • Arroyo Grande reported COVID-19 cases: 16
  • City of San Luis Obispo reported COVID-19 cases: 12
  • Morro Bay reported COVID-19 cases: 7
  • Templeton reported COVID-19 cases: 6
  • Nipomo reported COVID-19 cases: 8
  • Pismo Beach reported COVID-19 cases: 5
  • Other San Luis Obispo County reported COVID-19 cases: 13

Ages of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Age 0-17 years old – 6
  • Age 18-49 years old – 44
  • Age 50 – 64 years  – 34
  • Age 65 and older – 36

Cases of COVID-19 by status in San Luis Obispo County

  • At home – 15
  • Hospitalized – 3 (2 in ICU)
  • Recovered – 101
  • Deaths – 1

Source of transmission of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Travel related transmission – 42
  • Known person-to-person transmission – 40
  • Unknown community-acquired transmission – 34
  • Unknown – 4

Number of people tested for COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County

As of Tuesday, the county reports conducting 749 COVID-19 tests. An unknown number of residents have been tested by private labs, the county reports. The county detected 47 cases, and 73 cases were detected by private labs. Private labs doing testing include WestPac Labs, Quest Diagnostics, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories, LabCorp, VRDL.

Caltrans issuing special permits authorizing overweight trucks to deliver emergency supplies

SACRAMENTO— Caltrans will temporarily issue special permits for overweight trucks transporting emergency supplies in support of COVID-19 relief and prevention efforts following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent State of Emergency declaration and subsequent activation of the federal Stafford Disaster Relief and Assistance Act.

“Authorizing these special exceptions clears a path for greater volumes of material vital in the fight against COVID-19,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Emergency medical supplies and equipment, groceries, perishable items, water and countless other essential items will now reach their destinations more rapidly than they did before, at a time when people need them most.”

Caltrans will issue permits for overweight trucks on the State Highway System and will help support transportation operators in obtaining permits from local agencies for local roads. These permits increase the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight from 80,000 to 88,000 pounds and will be valid until further notice.

To expedite the permits, Caltrans is performing advance review and analysis on major corridor routes, including:

  • I-5
  • US-101
  • I-15
  • SR 60
  • I-405
  • SR 99
  • I-10
  • SR 91
  • I-80
  • I-710

This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations moving essential goods in support of relief and preventive measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Essential Goods” are defined as the following:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectant
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
  • Immediate precursor raw materials such as paper, plastic or alcohol that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items above
  • Fuel
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, Caltrans continues its critical functions during this crisis, including highway maintenance and roadway access to medical facilities and facilitating transport of essential goods and services throughout the state.

What is the cause of COVID-19 transmission?

–Transmission of the COVID-19 virus appears to be caused by close and prolonged contact, Borenstein said. The greater the illness has affected someone, the more likely they are to transmit it to other people, she said. Asymptomatic transmission, if occurring at all, is a minor proportion of infections, she said. Airborne infection appears to be limited to someone infected who coughs or sneezes and vapor droplets may linger for a short period of time. But neither asymptomatic transmission nor airborne transmission appear to be a dominant means of transmission, she said. The virus does tend to transfer well with human contacts, like shaking hands, and linger on hard surfaces, studies have shown.

How people can protect themselves

Every person has a role to play. Protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:

  • Staying home except for essential activities – “Shelter at home
  • Washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with your sleeve, or disposable tissue. Wash your hands afterward.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Practicing social distancing.
  • Following guidance from public health officials.

What to do if you think you’re sick

Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath) and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

San Luis Obispo County’s urgent communicable disease line is (805) 781-4553.



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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.